Friday, April 20, 2012

Photo Mariko - Sojourns in Faraway Places

The opening lines of Emerald Wynn's recent  blog post,  humorous as always, set me thinking and made me extremely self conscious about leading off this post with an egocentric picture of myself. So, I'll put that picture second and lead this post with a Japanese teahouse ablaze in windlight. Well, that looks pretty. And, it eased my conscience knowing that I didn't follow the blogger herd with a leadoff exercise in narcissism. Plenty of time for that later.  Now, please don't let this lead picture give you the impression that I'm any kind of virtual artist. I belong to the instant coffee school of Second Life photography. I just find an interesting view, fiddle with some windlight, and snap the picture ... photography as easy as instant coffee. Most of the time, I don't even bother with windlight.

Emerald's Eyes by Emerald Wynn is my favorite favorite favorite Second Life blog:

Click on the pictures to enlarge them for better viewing.

Egocentric Picture
Given the extraordinarily mild winter along the east coast, the cherry trees are flowering early in the Northeast in a spectacular show that is now in its final act. It truly deserves a standing ovation.  That show has its Second Life counterpart in Islamey, the Garden in the Sky, located in Chouchou.

Japanese Teahouse in Islamey, Chouchou
I introduced Chouchou in my last post.  It's a fascinating place composed of 3 major regions: The Babel, Momento, and Islamey. The Babel and Momento are very abstract, very intriguing, and very creative. But, it's to Islamey that I will return again and again. This Japanese garden is breathtakingly lovely and at the same time very tranquil.

Jaysun and I had tea at Islamey. Jay brought his own personal tea with him which he shared with me. It's called Chernobl.

Islamey in Chouchou
Islamey, Chouchou

My previous post was located in The Babel, so let's go to Momento. The centerpiece at Momento in Chouchou is a monumental cathedral. It's stark and very minimalist. It looks almost skeletal.

There's no flying in Chouchou; so, you have to walk. And it's a long trudge to the cathedral and a long climb up the stairs to the top of the cathedral. To give you a sense of the size of this build, those two little specks in the entrance of the cathedral are me and Chisaki.

Exploring the cathedral in Momento, Chouchou
This is not an egocentric picture because Chisaki is absolutlely adorable here and definitely outshines me  She's the center of attention in the picture. I'm a little obsessed right now with this egocentric thing.

Momento in Chouchou

I like finding town squares in Second Life that have an Old World ambiance. This one in Amia  is very nice. There's a little al fresco cafe here where you can sit at a table and enjoy the atmosphere...


... if you can overlook the pigs in the fountain.

A pleasant surprise in the square is this corral with its lovely horses. Although these horses are absolutely adorable, this is an egocentric pic. I'm an unnecessary part of this picture. In fact, it would be a better picture with me left out of it.

Broadway actress/singer Tamra Hayden in concert as Tamra Sands in Second Life. You should definitely catch her live performances. They are part of what makes Second Life so special.

Tamra Hayden's website

Obviously, an egocentric picture.
The Loneliness of Being is a work of contemplative art by artist Ian Pahute. Its setting is a small remote island with a comfortable campfire and a evolving cloud of ever changing words drawn live from the Internet. I don't see words here, only ephemeral letters from the alphabet. Well, if I was stranded on a desert island and going insane, I might see such hallucinations. 'Others see hidden meaning and personal insight', so claims the write up on the work. A e k P o t L ... anyone see any hidden meaning in that? How about personal insight? Anyways, it's a lovely spot. Check it out and contemplate.

The Loneliness of Being

Principato di Melioria
In Latin, di melioria means 'heaven send us better times.' For many history buffs, there is no better time than the 18th century. And there is no better place to immerse oneself in the Age of Reason than at the Principato di Melioria. I mean, where else can you find a discussion group discussing  'The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shady, Gentleman', the favorite novel of Thomas Jefferson and his wife.

Principato di Melioria

A role player at Principato di Melioria

This role play sim is an island principality off the coast of  Massa Lubrense near Naples, Italy in 1780. It is a secret retreat for many European royalty and is known for its temperate climate, brilliant social pleasures, and curative waters. The ruling family is originally English, and the spirit here is of the Scottish Enlightenment of John Locke, David Hume, and Adam Smith rather than  of the French Philosophes, thankfully. It's very well done and an interesting place and well worth a visit.

What the camera saw.
Some time ago, Stevie and I spend a pleasant hour dressing up and taking pictures in the grotto under the Villa Vesuiana in Westphalia at Principato di Melioria. A camera can catch an unguarded moment. But, is Stevie really checking me out?

Speaking of the 18th century, I took this picture of Lulubelle in period costume at Chateau de Versailles. Chateau de Versailles is a role play sim and an extraordinarily ambitious project to  recreate, in accurate detail, the royal court of France anno domini 1773. The palace of Versailles in Second Life is an incredible ongoing achievement - a Second Life Treasure. So,  put on your best Marie Antoinette impersonation and experience the salons and court life of 18th century France, even if you have to put up with those insufferable philosophes of the French Enlightenment. Let 'em eat cake. 

Chateau de Versailles

Jaysun is a role player at Chateau de Versailles. Jay is a noble of high rank and has an apartment in the palace near the chambers of the queen. Moving forward in time to 1793, I hope we don't see Jay being led up the steps to the guillotine at the Place de la Concorde, the natural conclusion of the French Enlightenment. But, knowing Jaysun, he would have been one of those nobles with the foresight to immigrate to Philadelphia, the capital of the new republic of the United States of America (the natural conclusion of the Scottish Enlightenment is the United States, Land of Liberty).

These are my two kittens, Yum and Jet, at my villa in Opar, my country estate.  You can see that this is an egocentric picture; but, those kittens are absolutely adorable. And it's a nice picture to end this post.

Dear Reader, visit my estate as my guest:



  1. Oh my GAHHHH - I almost fainted when I saw my name in your blog! LOL - thank you! I got sort of teary. ("You like me! You really like me!")

    And nooo, I didn't mean to make you feel self-conscious. I was pretty much making fun of myself because I start every blog post with a big damn picture of myself.

    This post is SO AWESOME. I'm going to check out all these places. And I love your photos so much!

  2. What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee,
    The image can be seen at who can supply you with a canvas print of it.